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Patterns in Nature - 50 years of wildlife photography

We were delighted to be asked choose our favourite abstract photos from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year archive for the Natural History Museum - though it wasn't easy! Exploring the 50 years of stunning wildlife photography entries we managed to narrow down two images we love...

Innovation by Michel Loup, France for WPY 2005

River of Dreams

The unusual perspective of this image by Michel Loup really adds to its intrigue, not to mention the tree trunks creating a natural stripe and the stunning dappled leaves reflecting in water. The effect of hazy light and dreamy colour makes me feel like I'm entering an enchanted forest where everything is not as it seems.

Behind the image

Wandering alongside the Hėrisson river on a warm June day, through the beautiful eastern French countryside, close to the lakes of Jura, Michel came across this stretch of river and was drawn to the scene's absolute tranquility. The water was as still as glass, and rays of the noonday sun overhead were filtering down through the dense beech foliage, bathing the riverbed in golden light. With a careful choice of angle, exposure, frame and focus, he set out to contrast the darkness and light and merge actuality with reflection, to create a multidimensional sense of space that would conjure up the magic of the moment.

"Sensing that her den might be near, he took the group back there at first light"

From Dawn to Dusk by Mike Mockler, United Kingdom for WPY 2000

Leopard at Dawn

The bold, almost completely flat colour allows the viewer to pick out the unmistakable silhouette of the leopard. The graphic nature of the image strips away all other details and allows the viewer's imagination to enter the scene, transporting us to a magical African dawn.

Behind the image

Photographer Mike Mockler was leading a safari group in northern Tanzania when he found a leopard with a small cub. Sensing that her den might be near, he took the group back there at first light the following morning. To his delight, the leopards were there again, in a tree. The female seems to have watched dawn from the branch. 

You can discover more at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition on now or read more of our interview here.


Wildlife Photographer of the Year

16th October 2015 - 2nd May 2016

Open: 10am - 5:50pm

Tickets: £13.50 adults, £6.75 children and concessions


The Natural History Museum

Cromwell Road

London SW7 5BD

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